"There are times when you're not flying:" Jamie Wall on dealing with a condition which has left him wheelchair bound

The former Cork GAA player is the manager of the Mary Immaculate hurling team that is gearing up for the Fitzgibbon Cup

"There are times when you're not flying:" Jamie Wall on dealing with a condition which has left him wheelchair bound

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

Almost three years have passed since Jamie Wall was diagnosed with a condition which has left him confined to a wheelchair and this year, he will succeed Éamonn Cregan as the manager of the Mary I hurling team that is vying to defend their Fitzgibbon Cup.

Wall is a former student of the college, where he obtained a degree in Primary School teaching and was on the 2013 panel that qualified for the Fitzgibbon Cup weekend. Speaking on Off The Ball this evening, he told Ger Gilroy that he feels a sense of loyalty to the college and is looking forward to the challenge that lies before him.

For anyone unfamiliar with his story, an abscess was discovered on his spine in 2014 and Wall later underwent surgery. He has been wheelchair bound since then. 

His rehabilitation of late has taken him to Cambridge and Miami, while equipment at home makes his condition more manageable. He's also hopeful that he will one day qualify for a clinical trial in Ireland to help further his recovery.

Looking towards his management role this year, he talked about the challenges involved in navigating through GAA grounds and the measures he needs to take to make things easier.

"Obviously the big grounds are a lot easier and then there’s some smaller grounds then where your access is a lot different. When you’re trying to get down on the grass and train teams, the grass can be your greatest enemy."

"You need to factor in those extra five minutes that you take every time you get into a car. You need to factor in all these extra small bits that maybe slow your day down. It’s just a small bit of maybe preparation that you wouldn't have to engage in, in maybe other circumstances."

"It is that balance of getting on with the business of living and factoring in rehab. I said two years ago that I wanted to balance the two and I ended up just going full bore at one. This has been a good experience for me to open things up for myself and say there’s a bit of living to be done."

He also addressed the misconceptions that the public may form about his condition, and spoke candidly about how he processes the darker moments that come with his situation.

"It might give the impression that 'Jesus he’s great and he’s flying' and there are times when you're not flying. You’re going places that are a small bit difficult than you’ve been before. Since I moved back to Limerick over the Christmas, meeting a few friends and going out to all the places that we use to go to. Suddenly you’re realising that one or two of your favourite pubs don’t have disabled toilets. Sometimes those aspects, you dwell on for a second longer than you should and it sends you down a road that you don’t want to go down."

"I have had my moments where things looked as black as they could look. My girlfriend is very good to listen to those things. She’s probably heard a lot of things that you wouldn't want somebody that you care about to hear. That sense of it too, in being able to discuss it makes an awful difference and continues to make a difference when these things happen."

"Maybe for somebody else who doesn’t have that obvious justifiable reason jumping out at them to say why they’re sad is probably 20 times worse because half their battle then is trying to figure out 'why am I feeling this way?' At least with me, I can identify the source of this feeling and that in itself presents half the solution."